The camping trip

Last weekend, I went back in time. Well, not literally. But I certainly felt like a time traveler.

I took my daughters and their girl scout troops camping at a nearby council property. It wasn’t just any council property. I had camped there before… as a middle schooler, nearly thirty years ago. My first sleepaway camp, I had spent an entire week there making friends, swimming, horseback riding and avoiding the spider-filled latrines until my bladder nearly burst.

Returning there was nothing short of surreal. Have you ever had a memory of a place from your childhood emblazoned in your brain and then returned to that place as an adult? It definitely looked different than I remembered. It was bigger, more spread-out. The old dining hall was still there but seemed smaller. I didn’t remember the lake being so close to the pool or the horse stables being so far from the main camp. Other things matched my memories perfectly. As soon as I saw the fire ring, I remembered the nightly story hours and sing-a-longs. Traditions were etched into my soul there. Have you ever sang Taps at sunset next to the crackle of a campfire? Magical.

But enough about my trip down memory lane. Last weekend was about my girls and their friends. This trip was our first organized troop campout. I loved seeing my older troop step up and take over the cooking and clean up duties. As I watched them help the younger troop with archery skills or crafts, I was reminded that they are becoming leaders. The younger girls soaked up new experiences like little sponges. They all were beyond excited about the horses. Seeing the girls up on horseback giddy and excited – some for the very first time – warmed my heart with pride.

It was a perfect fall weekend to spend outdoors. We made burritoes and pizzas on the grill. On Saturday night, one of the moms made a dutch oven apple cobbler that was absolutely amazing. We made walking tacos. And no campout would be complete without s’mores. Yeah, we had those too. Sunday morning we hiked through the woods, breathing crisp, cool air deep into our lungs. The girls ran and played outside against a backdrop of red and orange and yellow. Nature’s autumnal masterpiece.

There’s something very special about revisiting a childhood memory while simultaneously helping your children build their own. I feel very honored that I was able to do just that.

Some pictures from our weekend:

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